Between living in my dream castle versus Iva’s, pick the one that my daughter has conceived. While my castle would comfortably satisfy any Snow White or Prince Charming with its dazzling architecture and picturesque landscape, my top-of-mind didn’t compare to the serious fun and detail that had packed Iva’s castle.

“How would your house in Heaven look like,” was how we started out our nightcap conversation as we prepared for bed one night. She blew me away from the get-go.

“I want a castle with stairs and slides,” was Iva’s knee-jerk answer to my question. My curiosity to ask more about the stairs and slides was brushed aside as items kept popping out into Iva’s dream world, as if merely describing items detailed in an intricate picture. Despite being exhausted and half-asleep, I remembered her mentioning a garden where she could pick the fruits that she loves to munch on, like peaches, cherries and strawberries; a makeup kit, probably for her and Mommy, who uses it for work everyday; animals that she loves and would like to pet; a bike, although I’m not sure if it’s still the one that she now has; and a kitchen, as she has grown a love for cooking and preparing food, real or otherwise.

Iva is joined by her apprentice brother at her kitchen.
The little chef knows that presentation is an integral part of great cooking.
The sibling chefs at work, preparing their meals.

When she slowed a bit with her grand list of castle must-haves, I slipped in the question: “So, what’s with the stairs and slides?”

“The stairs are for going up [only], and the slides are for going down,” was her straight-out reply. “Oh, and I want to have an elevator, for when people get tired of going up the stairs.”

Usually, bedtime stories were reserved for Mommy or me, but Iva was so engrossed with her dream castle that it made for more than the usual length of our nightcap.

“And I want to cook for Jesus.”

The thought moved me that, young as she was, Iva didn’t miss out on planning something for her Creator, and the host of Heaven. Knowing how intricate she prepares her plastic toy dishes, and how impressive her plating is even with mere twigs and leaves, I simply blurted out, “I’m sure Jesus would love that.”

Would you like to try this version of the barbecue?

“And your castle? Jesus promised that Heaven would be much, much more than how you have described it.”

Then we kissed each other goodnight, and joined the rest of the family to sleep, but not after she had spending a few more minutes adding other details to her heavenly home.

“‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ – the things God has prepared for those who love Him.” – 1 Corinthians 2:9

“‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning, or crying, or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Revelation 21:4